Beliefnet
Letting Go with Guy Finley

We have all been hurt, left with a heart wounded by others who seem to go on just fine without us. In moments of such loss, our emptiness doesn’t stay empty for long; we are soon filled with anger, guilt, regret, or grief. These dark thoughts and feelings usually accomplish two things at once. At their onset, they bind us to a negative certainty that we will never again love or trust, but that’s not the worst of it. They also blind us so that the real purpose behind our pain goes unseen; as such, we miss the following lesson. Hidden within it is the power to transform our tears into a new kind of triumph over sorrow:

It isn’t love that has hurt us.

Once our inner eyes are open and we can read the story between the lines secreted away in our suffering, we’re able to see one spiritual wonder after another. For instance, we realize that real love can’t hurt us any more than the light from a lamp can turn a room dark. We understand without taking thought that the nature of light is to reveal, not conceal. It’s clear: love heals; its celestial purpose is to integrate all that it embraces and all who choose to embrace it.

The birth of this new inner wisdom delivers the aspirant to a spiritual crossroads. The left-hand path leads to unrequited sorrow. The one on the right leads to revelation; from its elevated view, we see our heartaches—whatever their nature—as heralds of a higher order of love that bring a celestial invitation to realize a level of ourselves that cannot be diminished by any loss. The following insights bring these last important ideas into focus.

This world of ours, and all that transpires here, is a school for our spiritual education. Like any institution of higher learning, it has teachers, lessons, and many levels of learning; all serve to make possible the revelation and eventual realization of a timeless love that both creates and maintains the cosmos. Now, let’s take the light of this same insight and shine it on that dark moment when life seems to take from us something or someone that we love.

Whenever we find ourselves hurt, left behind, or feeling undone by someone’s negligent behavior toward us, life seems to be telling us that it’s time to suffer. But this perception is as false as the lower level of self that falls for it. As we will see, the truth of these moments is far and away another story.

In any and all unwanted moments, life asks of us a single question: are we ready to see that our pain isn’t because something has changed, as it obviously had to do, but rather we suffer because of a part of us that desperately fears change? As challenging as it may be, we must acknowledge this revelation if we wish to realize the lesson it brings. Only then can we take the true action for which this new understanding calls: we must let go of any part of us that clings to its pain as proof of its love.

How can we be sure that letting go can help us outgrow our suffering, let alone learn to welcome those unwanted moments that seem to deliver us into its dark hands? A quick review reveals all:

Our own experiences have proven, time and time again, that the lessons we need in order to transcend our present level of understanding ride in on the back of events. Yet, in the midst of all these individual revelations lies hidden a single lesson greater than all of them combined: any truth that we come to see about ourselves is—and always has been—a part of our consciousness. Experience proves this divine discovery.

Whenever we finally learn the lesson in some moment and see the truth of it, the feeling is more like we’ve suddenly remembered something than one of having stumbled upon something formerly unknown to us. These moments of illumination are like running into a long-lost friend—and, in a way, that’s what they are: the remembrance of any timeless truth reunites us with our immortal Self. We are led to these moments by a loving Intelligence that waits within us to show us that we have never been alone—and never will be.

This means that our life lessons appear as they do, when they do, to serve a beautiful single purpose: to release us from the painful illusion that when something we love comes to an end, love itself comes to an end.

What punishes us in these moments is our identification with a lower level of self that’s trying to hold onto a form of love that can no longer be sustained in this world. This false nature suffers as it does for one reason only: it fears that the end of its relationship—with whatever it has become identified with—spells the end of its existence as well. And so it clings, denies, and decries all that passes because it believes that it’s nothing without its designated “other.”

Yes, it hurts to be left behind; there is always grief when a loved one passes on, as surely as we feel anger and sorrow upon learning that someone near and dear has betrayed or lied to us. This is why if we hope to realize the timeless love that lives within us, we must not only perfect the following understanding but also practice its truth in any moment where love seems lost:

In the worlds above us—that dwell within us—we are the other.

The indwelling love of the Divine never dies; it only assumes new ways to teach us this truth so that we may share in its ceaseless rebirth within us.

Question: I am struggling to get over a relationship that just felt so good in so many ways. She left me because she had a feeling in her gut that it was not right. I find myself constantly thinking about her and hoping that she will come back to me. Images I see remind me of her and thoughts of her run through my mind all day long. I have tried counselors, medication, readings, and still cannot seem to stop thinking about her.  I know it is over and she is never coming back, but my days are filled with despair and sadness. Is there anything I can do to shake these feelings?

Answer: The real problem isn’t that you miss her — even though there may be strong emotional or other needs that repeatedly surface after being apart for awhile. The real issue is the sense of emptiness you feel. What we must do is free ourselves from the false sense of being incomplete without this or that person or condition in our lives. Otherwise we live as — and remain little more than — slaves of the person or possession we are identified with and “use” to fill the space left by their absence. That’s why only new and true self-knowledge can help us clear away the misunderstanding we have about this life and what we are meant to do with it. There’s nothing wrong with a lovely relationship with a significant other; the point is we can’t share such a communion with anyone until we are whole within ourselves. Then our relationships are out of love instead of need. And believe me, there is a huge difference.

Part I:

We cannot control the way the world turns. We cannot change day into night. We cannot keep what is not ours, and we cannot hide these facts from ourselves no matter how hard we try. But what we are given to do, and that turns out to be the one power of ours truly capable of transforming our experience of life, is that we can choose the internal company we keep. It is our created right to be in relationship with only those thoughts and feelings whose presence is both pleasing to us, and our higher purpose.

Part II:

Any thought or feeling that jumps up within us to explain to us why we are the way we are, that wants to help us justify ourselves after we catch a glimpse of something less than flattering about ourselves– appears there within us for only one reason. Let’s see what it is: It wants to pass itself off as our friend-in-need; a feat it does by working to soften the blow of our having seen some formerly unsuspected truth about our present nature. This would-be friend is our secret enemy! Here’s the proof of this truth: what is true never needs an agent of any kind to soft-pedal its presence. Truth is living light, and nothing is more gentle than that!

man, light through key hole, up arrowWhenever we hate or resent someone it is we who become hateful or full of resentment, which proves that we cannot give our lives over to any spirit of darkness without that same sick spirit transforming our lives into its very own. Therefore, remember this cardinal principle of consciousness: Attentiveness is “preventive-ness.” Choose well your inner company.